On February 1, 2000, after his lung surgery five weeks earlier, the world lost a blithe spirit, Louis S. Walter. Adult respiratory distress syndrome had finally stilled the glorious voice for which Lou was well known. Several years earlier, three heart attacks had failed to do it. Nor had they dulled the brightness of the warm personality that was Lou. When a fellow member of Music and Drama Productions (MAD), a theater group Lou co-founded, was wheeled up to a recovery bed after heart surgery, the man was too exhausted to wonder about the room’s other occupant who was within...

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